Arianna Huffington on HuffPost Canada launch

For Canadian media outlets worried that yesterday’s launch of The Huffington Post Canada means fewer precious online eyeballs for themselves, Arianna Huffington herself set the record straight.

For Canadian media outlets worried that yesterday’s launch of The Huffington Post Canada means fewer precious online eyeballs for themselves, Arianna Huffington herself set the record straight.

Readers today go to multiple sites for their news, said Huffington, the president and editor-in-chief of AOL Huffington Post Media Group, in Toronto Thursday for the launch. “We don’t operate from a scarcity model, more from an abundant model,” she said. “We’ll link to [other media] sites and drive traffic to your site, then that can be monetized. We’re basically a good thing,” she said.

Addressing who she sees as HuffPost Canada’s competitors, she said “I generally don’t look at life that way, focusing on who the competition is and who our opponents are. I think so often brands focus too much on competitors rather than ‘how can we get better for our users?’ At The Huffington Post, I’ve never looked over my shoulder and said ‘Who is the competition?’”

Huffington also listed the four elements that make up Huffington Post coverage: aggregation, blogging platform, original reporting and commenting platform. These elements will also apply to the Canadian site.

While the Huffington Post has long been associated with political content, it has spread its coverage to dozens of other topics. In February, when HuffPost was acquired by AOL, it had 26 sections. There are now 53 combined between AOL and HuffPost, which range from health and books to religion and style.

When Marketing asked how Huffington would encapsulate the brand today to new readers, she said “One way to identify Huffington Post’s DNA: it’s engagement,” whether achieved by users adding comments to stories or posting blogs.

Another important part of HuffPost Canada will be local content. “It’s a big pillar of the organization,” said Graham Moysey, general manager of AOL Canada. In order to marry Canadian readers with a local set of communities, he said getting more local is on the agenda. This could include a Canadian version of the hyperlocal news project Patch.com.

Huffington said various editors from The Huffington Post were brought in from New York to help with the Canadian launch, but the new site already has an impressive roster: Brad Cressman, head of content, AOL Canada; Kenny Yum, managing editor of The Huffington Post Canada and all AOL Canada properties; Brodie Fenlon, senior news editor; and Heather Reisman, editor-at-large of HuffPost Canada (and founder of Indigo Books and Music).

Check out Marketing’s June 13 issue for our one-on-one interview with Arianna Huffington.

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